Calder Valley Community Land Trust

August 2018

 Sep newsletter now out.  August newsletter is now out.   Also available, newsletters sent out in Aug, June, MayApril March, January, Dec 2017, Oct, Sep,  May,  April, March  and February last year.

Public meeting: Investing ethically in new housing, Monday Sep 24th 7.30pm, Waterfront Hall, Hebden Bridge Town Hall.

Hebden Bridge planning application is in

High Street, Hebden Bridge planning application is now live

Our planning application, submitted in mid July, has now been validated by Calderdale Council and is therefore live and open for comments. You will find all the plans and documents at Calderdale’s planning portal.  The full address is here:https://portal.calderdale.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?keyVal=PCGOUHDWIOK00&activeTab=summary

 There are a lot of documents there. You may find it interesting to look first at the Design and access statement, which is a good summary of the proposal. 

As you will perhaps know from previous newsletters, we had originally hoped to submit the application this summer.  However following our April round of consultations, we were asked by neighbours in Bridge Lanes, Hebden Bridge, to make the development less ‘bulky’. To meet their concerns we have scaled back the development from the original proposal of 27 homes to twenty homes. These will be a mixture of one, two and three bedroomed homes, to be let at genuinely affordable rents to local people in housing need. Our focus is primarily on local younger people, priced out of the housing market.

 Could we ask you to support our application? 

The way to do this is online, following the instructions on the portal website. If you haven’t used this before, you will need to register with a password (sorry), but we hope you won’t mind doing this to support our work. Comments are one way we can demonstrate to the planners that strong community support exists for the CLT’s work.

 Our next public meeting is on Mon Sep 24th

The fourth in our series of five public meetings on the theme Housing: It’s an Issue is coming up shortly, on Monday September 24th.  Our focus this time is on how direct investment from within communities can help bring about the sort of new housing which local neighbourhoods want. It’s what we’re planning to do ourselves, of course, when we launch the community share issue later in the year to help provide capital for our Hebden Bridge development. 

We are pleased to have secured a strong panel of speakers. After working initially in finance in the City of London Hugh Rolo saw the light! He is now Director of Development at Locality, the UK-wide network for community-led organisations (we’re members). Hugh has taken a lead in developing the growth of community shares and other ways of raising social finance, such as crowdfunding. He is also a founding partner and Director of Key Fund, which invests ‘patient capital’ in community enterprises. 

Lisa Ashford is Chief Executive of Ethex, the not for profit platform putting ethical investors in touch with ethical investment opportunities. Ethex has so far helped social impact businesses raise about £50m from investors seeking to invest their money in places which align with their personal values. Our CLT has chosen to use Ethex as our platform for our forthcoming share launch.

Lisa is also Director of Goring and Streatley Community Energy, who are developing a hydroelectric scheme on the river Thames. She has a background in community energy in Zambia as well as the UK.

Jamie Hartzell is the founder director of the Ethical Property Company, which operates 25 centres which provide appropriate work space and meeting space for around a thousand charities, campaigning groups and social enterprises. The Ethical Property Company was launched in 1998 following a more informal arrangement in Bristol to provide accommodation for cooperatives and groups like the Soil Association, Since then investment from over 1350 shareholders has enabled the Company to operate in nine cities and own property valued in excess of £22 million.

Our public meeting on making new homes sustainable

It’s really not acceptable that many new homes built by commercial developers are poor quality and lacking in many basic elements of good environmental design. This is an issue which we know is close to the hearts of many of our members and supporters, and we were delighted at the big turn-out for the public meeting we held on Weds August 22nd with the theme Making New Housing Sustainable and Energy Efficient.

Our thanks to the three speakers who came considerable distances to be with us, and to everyone who contributed to the lively discussion afterwards.

Photo: our June public meeting

And then later...

The fifth and final public meeting in our current series will be on Mon Oct 29 (putting the vision back into public housing).

Two letters to put after our name

We heard recently that we have been successful in our application to become a Registered Provider - an 'RP'.  This is what used to be known as a 'registered social landlord' and what it means is that we will now be able directly to tap into grant funding for affordable homes from Homes England, without having to ask a housing association to help us.  We wanted to retain as much control of the homes we will be building locally, and RP status will enable us to achieve this. 

It means in particular that we can now immediately start moving on the development at Walsden, which - you may remember - is for six independent living bungalows for older people. We received planning permission for this last autumn and have been impatiently awaiting the RP status to be able to appoint the contractor. Finally, finally, we will have something happening on the ground!

Incidentally, we have been seen as a national test case in regard to becoming an RP. Most Community Land Trusts elsewhere have so far chosen not to go through the extremely rigorous process of assessment, so we are conscious that we are under the spotlight at the moment in this regard. It's good to have come through the process successfully.

Photo: Our April consultation on the Hebden Bridge development

Share issue 'pledge' leaflet update

Thank you if you came along in February, when we launched our community share ‘pledge’ leaflet at Hebden Bridge Town Hall (photo below). We were pleased to have such a good turn-out and heartened by the interest shown.

You’ll know if you were there that we are planning to launch an ambitious community share issue later in the year, to raise £500,000 in investment from within the community to help fund the proposed Hebden Bridge development of affordable homes to rent. (You’ll also know that we won’t be asking for anyone’s investment until we have planning permission and have completed work on the share prospectus.)

We are currently expecting the planning process for the HB development to be over by November.  What this means is that we expect to launch our Community Share issue, which has had to be temporarily put back because of the planning delay, in November or very early December.  Again, more details soon and, if you are one of our more than thirty would-be investors, thank you for your patience.

£500,000 will be the largest community share issue ever attempted in Britain for community-led housing, but with strong early support we’re feeling increasingly confident that we will get there.

Community Foundation for Calderdale also expect to invest

We’re also delighted to say that, following discussions with two of the trustees and the CEO of the Community Foundation for Calderdale, the Foundation’s trustees have taken an in-principle decision to invest £100,000 in the Hebden Bridge development.  This is subject to discussions on the terms, but is a very welcome fillip to the CLT.  Investment from CFFC will be a valuable additional source of investment capital for what we’re planning to do.